What is it about muffins? I can’t quite put my finger on how to describe their taste and texture, it being quite similar yet oh-still-so different from a fairy cake. The flour used, even when a high white plain, goes a nutty, wholemeal-ish taste and the density of the sponge is so different, almost wet. It’s the precise ratios of ingredients, the use of both baking powder and extra bicarbonate that make these subtle changes.
These muffins are not quite as sickly sweet as those you might pick up with your cup o’ mocha-chocka-chai-latte-grande. I’ve purposely reduced the sugar, replacing much of it with honey too, so it is a more acceptable level of sweet while still keeping enough sugar back to create the baked-on crunch topping. I’ve also introduced some thyme leaves to give the cakes a little twist and to keep their taste fresh, and these use yogurt not the usual cream, extra milk or extra butter.
These make 12 muffins, but do use a deep bun tin if you have one rather than a traditional shallow fairy cake/bun tin.
I created my own muffin cases, by cutting out 15cm X 15cm squares of baking paper. Take a glass or beaker with a bottom which fits into the base of one of the bun tins. Squash a square of baking paper into a bun tin with the glass, turn the glass and paper over and then smooth the baking paper square firmly down the sides of the glass. This will create a perfectly usable case. I’ll try to create a video of how to do this and include it here soon.
- Deep bun tins (this makes twelve so you need at least this amount of cavities)
- Paper cases – either bought or create your own (see above)
- Large bowl and smaller heatproof bowl
- Spatula and spoon
- Plain flour – 300g
- Bicarbonate of soda – 1 teaspoon
- Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
- Soft brown sugar – 80g (please do use soft brown or Demerara – the muffins really are very different if you use white caster or granulated)
- Fine salt – a pinch
- Honey – 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted butter – 105g – this butter should be quite soft but not melted
- Eggs, large – 2
- Plain yogurt – 110g
- Blueberries, fresh – 150g
- Freshly picked thyme leaves – about 2 heaped teaspoons
- Extra sugar (Demerara, granulated or pearl sugar) for a crust – about 2 tablespoons
- Turn your oven on to 190°C fan, 210°C conventional
- Prepare the bun tins by filling with the paper cases, you don’t need to grease them or use release spray
- Pick your fresh thyme – and strip off the leaves, discarding the stalks
- Put all of the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, baking powder, sugar and salt) in the large bowl, sifting them together with your fingers or giving them a light stir
- Make sure your butter is really soft, but not melted
- Give the two eggs a light whisk in a separate bowl
- Mix in the butter, yogurt, honey and eggs into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed
- Now gently mix in the blueberries and thyme
- Divide the mix equally between the 12 cases
- Sprinkle over the extra pearl sugar (or other sugar that you’re using)
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
- Check them after about 12 minutes and turn the trays round if they’re already getting brown on one side
- Leave to cool and then enjoy 🙂